Report: Raptors trade DeMarre Carroll, 2018 1st, 2nd, to Nets for cap relief

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26: DeMarre Carroll
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26: DeMarre Carroll /

For the Toronto Raptors, this is the end of the DeMarre Caroll era that never truly begun.

He gone. Burning the midnight oil, Masai Ujiri and the Raptors dealt DeMarre Carroll to the Nets in a salary dump accompanied by both of their 2018 draft picks, early Sunday morning.

Ujiri said he had the go-ahead to move in the tax by ownership, but he didn’t say by how much. The Raptors were slated to be one of the most expensive rosters in the NBA next season before P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson left on their own accord. Now they’ve made a move of their own volition to reduce their tax bill.

The move was made to shed the $30 million left on Carroll’s two remaining years. In return the Raps get Justin Hamilton, a dude that made waves in the D-league… I mean G-league. He’s due to make £3 million next year but that’s it, and with so many centres on the Raptors roster, he’ll probably never grace the court.

Smart trade for the Nets. Any trade where they get draft picks is a successful one. In an offseason where they can’t find anyone to take their money, taking on bad salary is their way to leverage trades.

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For the Raptors, this is the end of the Carroll era that never truly begun. When first signed, he was coming off a glorious contract year with the 60-wins Hawks, where he was splashing 39 percent of his shots from deep while playing stellar defense.

The Raptors were looking to find a 3 and D wing that could plug the hole at small forward. Terrence Ross could never fill and Carroll was waltzing into free agency.

Carroll’s four-year, $58 million dollar contract raised eyebrow’s when it was first signed. However, as the salary cap boomed, the contract went from exorbitant to a slight over pay.

Then the injuries happened. Carroll could never really stay on the court. In his first season with the Raptors he only played 22 games with a knee issue that never truly went away. In the second season he saw minutes restrictions and strategic resting on specific nights, just to keep him alive for when they needed him most.

But when Carroll did play, he did so… sub-optimally. In his tenure with the Raptors, he appeared in 98 regular season games, averaging 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds, while shooting 39.6 percent from the floor.

Not from three-point range. From the floor. His three-point percentage slid embarrassingly down to 34 percent this year, his point production dropped below nine points per game and all other counting stats degraded into dust.

Carroll was never able to provide that pivotal wing defence for the Raptors either. After the knee injury he had clearly taken a step back defensively.

Quick 2’s and 3’s would blow past him in the full or half court  and he was too frail to guard the big boys. If power players came to town in Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, Carroll was barbecue chicken in the post.

DC’s defense decayed to the point he was bench in the playoffs. Giannis Antetokounmpo was absolutely torching him in the first round.

And even though the Raps won that series, the rumblings in the fanbase and front office became roars. What’s the point of have an aging 3 and D wing when he accomplishes neither?

CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 19: DeMarre Carroll /

Now, he’s no longer a Raptor and that means they don’t have a starting wing anymore. Tucker just left for James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets. OG Anunoby is a rook coming off a bad knee with  streaky shooting and Bruno Caboclo… I’m not even going to go there.

Norman Powell played the 3 in fits and starts and performed well, although it’s hard to see him surviving a full season there. Powell will probably see increased minutes this season now with seniors Carroll and Ross no longer a part of the roster.

This also brightens the idea of an extended stay in Toronto. With Carroll’s salary off the books it opens a window for Powell to get a contract extension, bearing an annual salary with two commas instead of just one.

Ujiri still has options moving forward. Cory Joseph is a legitimate asset and with numerous point guards on the roster, he will be the name to watch regarding any future Raptors movement.

If the Raptors want to get completely out of the tax for the MLE, shedding Joseph’s contract will accomplish that. If the Raptors want to replenish the draft coffers, CoJo’s talent in a trade will accomplish that. And if the Raptors want to make a move for a cheap wing, both Joseph’s contract and talent will accomplish that.

Next: Masai Ujiri’s in it for the long haul

With four centres and no true small forward on the roster, it would be foolish to think this is the end of the Raptors moving and shaking this offseason. The tax threat is officially gone. Now, it’s time for Ujiri to work his magic.